Blog Posts By:

Rishi Shah,
Associate

American democracy has faced immense challenges in the last year, and it is clear that our voting system and campaign finance laws need reform. But while an important federal election reform bill called the “For The People Act” has stalled in the U.S. Senate, a handful of states, notably Maryland, are pushing forward with building a better democracy. 

Today, over three dozen student leaders throughout Maryland sent a letter to Gov. Hogan in support of the Student and Military Voter Empowerment Act (HB0156/SB0283).

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the election process, with mail-in voting expanding as well as fewer in-person voting centers. The experiences of 2020 - as well as past elections - also revealed how to make in-person voting work better for Maryland voters. Our democracy is the most representative and the strongest when everyone participates in voting, so we should ensure that eligible voters aren’t faced with any unnecessary barriers to vote. This blog outlines three terrific ways to ensure that voting centers are accessible.

Today, we testified in support of Del. Kaiser's bill to standardize mail-in ballot materials and create a curing process for for mail-in ballots.

We're calling on the General Assembly to learn from the lessons of the 2020 elections and implement policies to improve mail-in voting going forward including: improved ballot tracking, utilizing ballot drop boxes in the future, and a curing process for mail-in ballots.

Maryland PIRG testified in support of legislation to create a permanent mail-in ballot voting list. Maryland voters can sign up and recieve a mail-in ballot in advance of every election without having to re-submit their mail-in ballot application in advance of every election. 

Maryland PIRG supports SB 596, sponsored by Sen. Washington, to extend the operating hours of early voting centers. 

Like everything else in 2020, our electoral process had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure voters could safely participate in voting. Our democracy works best when we all participate, so we should do everything we can to ensure all eligible voters are able to participate, including improving our mail-in voting systems.

We're calling on the Maryland General Assembly to pass this legislation, sponsored by Del. Kaiser, allowing local Boards of Elections to prepare mail-in ballots for tabulation 14 days before Election Day. 

Maryland PIRG supports legislation to increase the number of early voting sites in Maryland.